Wednesday 19 October 2016 9:04 am

Independent profitable for first time in 23 years after print closure, says owner

The Independent is profitable for the first time in more than 20 years after it went online-only earlier this year, its owner has revealed.

The Independent and Independent on Sunday print newspapers were closed earlier this year after owner ESI Media, which also publishes the Evening Standard, sold the i newspaper, their cut-price sister title.

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The company told the Financial Times its revenues have grown by 45 per cent year-on-year and are expected to total £20m this year.

Meanwhile, the headcount of the editorial operation has halved since the print closure, from 200 to 100.

“By going online-only we freed ourselves from the unwieldy infrastructure of print and allowed ourselves to be far more flexible,” owner Evgeny Lebedev told the FT.

“It is still early days, but the first six months have shown that by being more nimble and digitally focused we can better serve our new, much bigger audience online.

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“We are profitable for the first time in 23 years, which brings with it new opportunities.”

It has been a tough year for newspapers in general, with publishers reporting falling revenues, closing newspapers and cutting jobs.